The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Thursday 22 March 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 23rd March, 2018.

I had a really busy week!  So busy I didn't even post on Wednesday and it is rare for me to skip a post.  So I have a lot to report.
It is good to stop and look back over it all and catch my breathe.   I was very lucky with lots of opportunities this week!   Very often you just have to say yes and make use of things right away.  Like yesterday I finally had enough basil to make up a big batch of Pesto.  My own basil was never very big this year, not like most years at all.   Hilde gave me a bunch of hers.  Combined I had plenty so I got to making this up as it is so good, fresh and beautiful!

I use the recipe on A Tray of Bliss.  Mimi got me going on this and it is so useful.  It is so good in wraps with chicken.   It is so good with a steak!   One recipe I always do is cook cut up chicken in a fry pan.  When it is getting golden and is cooked add cream and a big blob of pesto and blend.  Serve with fresh steamed vegies on rice.  It is so delicious!    I love easy recipes like this!   

I continued on with my sour dough experiment.  I have converted my sour dough starter over to Gluten Free.  It works.   If you are interested in Sour Dough I have a whole section in my index on that.  It is very easy and it means you never have to buy yeast again.  
I started with a little bit of my starter and just fed it Aldi gluten free flour and built it up.   It acted like normal, bubbly and stretchy.   I found out a few things though along the way.  I found out for me that if you make dough it will rise.  But it won't rise the second time.  So  I now make the dough and place it directly into the tins and let it rise then cook.  This works.

My first success was with raisin bread.   It tastes so good and especially toasted.  

Then I finally got bread right.  It smells like bread, it tastes like bread and it slices perfectly and doesn't break.   

I am pretty happy with it.   Overall I know I am better off grain free.  I definitely cannot eat wheat without suffering badly.  But sometimes it is blissful to have bread!   I can make this for Mum too and baking is so nice for anyone GF.  Plus these products are expensive.   I figure now with my starter going I can easily make pizza base, Naan Bread,  focaccia, rain bread, regular bread,  all GF very very cheaply.   In the supermarket one not very big GF pizza base was $6. 
For anyone interested I will do a post with these recipes.   Now I have a simple way to do it,  but after a fair few mistakes first! 

I also tested the GF flour on pancakes and it worked perfectly.

I made up some bubble bath and added essential oils.

We picked the Quinces from our tree which was leaning over with the weight of the fruit. 

And made a batch of flourless peanut butter biscuits.

Then my week got really interesting as I went to see Hilde.   Ages ago I discovered her area is much cheaper for groceries especially fruit and veggies.   Travelling a bit for amazing prices is worth it.  Plus I get a day with my friend.  Well it was a big day!    I headed off with a basket of farm honey,  Miracle Cleaner and things for Hilde.

On the way I stopped at the op shop.  I got friand baking trays for $2.50

I love these!  To me they are the best way to make things like meatloaf.  They look so neat and you have nice individual serves to freeze.  Also cakes, quiche, muffins... maybe even actual friands! 
I found slicing meatloaf often the slices were not so neat.  Then I started making them in muffin trays. They look so nice!  

Hilde had made me a beautiful lunch.  Just as I expected I ended up with new recipes!  It was a perfect Autumn day and after lunch we went into the garden and picked lemons.  This is funny as she has a balcony and she goes up there with a big stick and breaks lemons off and I am underneath getting pummelled by giant lemons if I am not fast enough.   
She also gave me lots of baby succulents...

Plus Sage,  basil,  a stack of cookbooks and cooking magazines... 
Also beautiful bottles.  Hilde knows I love bottles for Miracle Cleaner, Bubble Bath and other recipes...

We went through her Grand Mothers hand written cook book.  Her Grand Mother was born in 1890.   I will show some of the recipes in an upcoming post. The hand writing is beautiful and Hilde has used all of the recipes. 

It was a fantastic day!   I got three kilos of bananas for 99c and other bargains.   When I got home the car was full!   It's a wonder I made it over the hill! 

Thursday the bananas needed using.  So I got busy with them.   Sour dough was going too and I made my banana cake x 4.  

I made a tray of little cakes for Harper.  Some larger ones for Andy's work lunches.   I took the opportunity and made a Birthday Cake for my niece,  two loaf cakes for Chloe and Luke.  These I slice up and put baking paper in between the slices then freeze.
I gave all the banana skins to the roses.

During the day I sent Mum a text.  She told me she was baking a cake for Luke!   haha!  I said "so am I!"  Well he will be happy!   I said ok Mum please take a photo of your cake and she said she would when she had iced it as it was still warm.


Chloe slices up the cakes and freezes portions.   When the boys stop for a break it is called Smoko.  Even though they don't smoke.   So she has a drawer in her freezer with the label "smoko"  and the challenge is to keep up with filling that drawer! 

So I had cooking everywhere!   I also made the first soup of the season.  It was sweet potato and pumpkin as Aldi had both on special.  It was beautiful.  I also froze portions of that for lunches.

We had one use it up night where I had soup and Andy had meat and veggies as I had a single portion of chicken in the freezer.  

Chloe and Luke's puppy is settled in.  His name is Sully.   He trots along with Chloe and helped her go and pick figs from the fig tree.  😊

Because Chloe had a Wedge Tailed Eagle try to take a chicken she keeps Sully close as he is smaller than a chicken! 

Yesterday I babysat Scarlett in the afternoon and then Harper came to visit too.   They love the chickens!   Scarlett seems determined she would like to catch one.   They seem to know it and go and hide. 

So that was my week.   It was productive and I got ahead in lots of ways so I am very happy with it. 
The football season started last night.  This means I will get a lot more crochet done. 

Andy said that he knew I had been doing a lot of baking  BUT.... it is ages since I made sausage rolls. haha!  I told Chloe about this and she said she is sure Luke would agree!   So guess what I am making tonight?   

It is a beautiful day.   I love this weather, it makes me feel really good.   I am meeting my friend Nerilie for coffee.  

How did you build up your home, economy,  pantry and family this week?  Because of the change of seasons many of us are cleaning, organising and fluffing around the house I notice.  

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx 


  1. Dear Annabel, I always look forward to your posts. Our NBN has been shocking and I have had trouble, well big trouble with it so I'm only online here and there. I also went interstate for a few days and had a lovely time. I am happy to be home though. I have been baby sewing madly in between other things.

    I will have a look on Tray of Bliss blog to find the pesto recipe. It looks beautiful.

    We had a wedgetailed eagle swoop into our yard and take rather a large bunny that was not keeping it's eyes open - it squealed quite a bit (as I would too if I were a bunny). I'm glad to see the eagles around but I know I would feel traumatised if it took one of my hens, but they are magnificent and deserve to eat. Tricky area really. I do like Sully, that is a gorgeous photo. We had a heeler as children and she was a magnificent dog. Hilde is a good friend to visit, you always come back very enthused and happy after seeing her and have lots to report. Have fun with your coffee date today. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona, I dont know of one person happy with the NBN. Andy now delivers work to many places on memory sicks as since they have the NBN they cant receive large files! Hopeless! I am refusing to sign up.
      Thank you for your kind words. I felt bad about not posting Wednesday but you can see why anyhow!
      Yes Hilde is great, we can have a lovely time and help each other all at once. We need out friends. This is how it is for me here. It is just so encouraging to go along with others aiming for the same things. Have a good weekend! With love,

  2. Dear Annabel,
    You had a most productive week. That puppy is so cute. I am a serious dog lover😃
    I am still sorting, sifting, and eliminating. It was a slow week as I went into a flare-up, but I was determined to keep forging ahead. Hence, I did accomplish some.
    My grandmothers were born in 1886 and 1892. Having Victorian grandmothers is a true blessing for a young woman growing up. Penmanship was very important back then.
    I would appreciate a post on the gf sourdough, very much.
    I am going to make your Miracle Cleaner recipe this weekend for a gift.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      I hope you are feeling better and having a nice weekend.
      When Hilde said when her Grandmother was born I was surprised! But then my Nan was born in 1919 and Hilde is a bit older than me. My Pa had beautiful writing. I admire this so much! My own has gone down hill!
      I will work on the gf post. I am so pleased with how the bread is but it took a few experiments! With much love,

  3. When you did not post on Wednesday I was concerned about you but you have so much going on with wedding planning and all that you had a well deserved break. I am so happy for you that the bread turned out well. For decades I was allergic to both yeast and wheat and bread is so hard to do without. Thankfully my body has been healed and I can eat anything now. All those bottles are just wonderful! I love the lemons story, too. My Dad used to climb up in the apple trees in our back yard and shake the trees and the apples would come showering down. We always felt compelled to run under there and get bombarded even though we were told not to. Ah, the memories of childhood. I cannot imagine Dad being able to do that now at age 80.

    We tried a new recipe for overnight baked french toast to use up the cubes of leftover bread that I keep in the freezer in a big bag. It was delicious and I am so happy to have another way to use that leftover bread. It reheated well, too. We had a lunch out that included grilled chicken sandwiches, potatoes and tea for only $3.80 for the two of us. Then later in the week another deal came along for a hamburger meal out for only $4.20. Today we picked up two free cookies while we were out. Hubby is getting to do his favorite thing and we are not spending much!

    We were back to our kinesiologist for him this week and she is so pleased with the progress he has made with his brain healing. Her remedies and essential oils along with some exercises and diet recommendations are working! Years ago she recovered from a brain injury so she can say that what is happening is normal and she can see the progress which is so comforting.

    Grocery deals were many this week too with cans of beans for 24 cents being the biggest one. They are always good to have on hand. We are happy to have beans and rice if we have a day that needs a quick and easy meal. I made banana chocolate chip muffins with 3 over ripe bananas for snacks and stashed them in the freezer. This is our favorite muffin recipe and I wonder how many hundreds I have made over the years.

    The painting project is coming along. It has been cold and windy here along with off and on cold rain all week so it is good to have an inside project this time of year. Getting started on gardening is no where in sight yet but it is time to start saving the egg shells and coffee grounds so that we are ready to go when it finally warms up.

    We took advantage of Skype to talk to our kids in Germany today. Our five year old grandson said he was embarrassed at school when apples were served and the 5 year olds were given sharp knives to cut up their apples and he did not know how. In the USA we can not imagine such a thing. So they are having lessons on using knives at home now. After 4 months they finally got their kitchen installed. They are so happy to be able to cook at home!

    Have a good weekend! Your beautiful weather sounds so lovely.

    1. Hi Lana,
      Health and safefy here in NZ has gone crazy over the last few years. Children, are smart and intelligent beings. Given good instruction and supervision they can learn those skills of using a sharp knife. Children learn through interacting with the people and things in their environment but they need the opportunities to do this. How else can they grow into confident and competent people. Bravo to your wee grandson and mum and dad for giving him the opportunity at home.


    2. Manda, I feel confident that our grandson will be a good student and learn to use knives carefully but it scares me on one level because I cut a finger so badly when I was 9 that I severed the tendon. That finger has never been completely usable since even though I had two surgeries on it to correct the injury.

    3. Dear Lana, Our Dads are the same age. Dad will be 81 in May. He has been up north working and I am wishing him to come home.
      I am very happy to hear of your husbands good progress. That is wonderful. And encouraging as you say!
      Your cooking plus good grocery deals were excellent!
      This is interesting on the knives. It is cultural. Perhaps not at 5 but I think at maybe 6 and 8 (as the is the spacing with my girls...) Chloe and Lucy would always cut up the carrots and other veggies for dinner. They were very good with it. So that was normal for us. They are taught though not just handed a knife! I remember having a migraine for days and I could hear the girls in the kitchen and Chloe decided they would start cooking dinner. It was 4 o'clock in the afternoon, she thought she needed a lot of time. I was laying there unable to do anything but listed. they chopped carrots, broccoli and I forget what else but I never worried about them with knives and it never occurred to me as they were used to it. Anyway I later did the cooking. I think they would have been around seven? Which is a bit older of course..
      It is so good you talked on Sypke and they have a kitchen now. That will be much better for them.
      We are having some more heat here, it is yuk! I need a quiet weekend I was tired! Have a good weekend to you too! With love

    4. What sweet girls to have taken care of you so well when you had a migraine. I do think 7 is a more usual age with knives. I feel sure that is about when I began helping in the kitchen with my Mom. Our daughter is even working with her 3 year old so that she knows how to cut safely. She bought small knives just for them so I hope it will go well without a mishap like I had at age nine.

  4. Hi Annabel and fellow bluebirds :).

    Annabel you have had a wonderful week getting beautiful bottles, having lovely friends who give you so much lovely produce, getting bananas so cheaply and my goodness all of that lovely baking :). Sully is just so adorable and is not looking near so serious now and happy.

    Our Vicky challenge savings were massive this week and added up to $1761.96 in savings. I think this is our biggest week ever.

    Finances, free eBay listings -
    - Banked more money into our saving for our home deposit bank account bringing us to 24.31% of the way there.
    - Listed 10 items on eBay using free listings saving $16.50 on usual listing free prices.

    Grocery purchases-
    - Purchased 3 large family roast chickens weighing 8.05kg on special for $3.50kg and combined this with another 5% off using our roadside assist grocery gift card to save $9.50 on usual prices. This tops our meat freezer up to full capacity with whole chickens.

    In the kitchen -
    - Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    - Currently we have roasting 2 whole chickens we purchased on special garnished with fresh rosemary sprigs picked from the gardens, paprika and mixed herbs with apple juice to give it a bit of a fruity taste. It takes so long for our oven to heat up that it pays us to cook as much at one time to save on electricity costs. After they are cooked we will break all the meat off the bones and package them in meal sized portions for the two of us in the freezer for around 8 - 10 meals.
    - Made a 1.4kg lemon and passionfruit cheesecake for $10.07 with cream cheese purchased at under 50% off sale before Christmas, free lemons, homemade sweetened condensed milk and topped with tinned passionfruit for 3 days of desserts for the 2 of us. By making it ourselves we saved $79.78 over purchasing an equivalent quality in the shops.

    In the garden -
    - Harvested 16kg of cucumbers fresh from the gardens saving $104 over purchasing them in the supermarkets. We kept some for ourselves and were able to bless 6 other families with our excess too to build their pantries.
    - Planted a 3.5 mt row of beetroot seeds in the gardens.
    - Purchased 6 cubic metres of horse manure to amend 2 garden beds for $40 off our local horse stud saving $1125.71 over purchasing it in bags from the local garden centre.
    - Spent 6 hours adding, spreading and ploughing in the manure into 2 garden beds saving $305.52 over hiring a gardener to do it. The cost of a gardener here per hour is $50.92 per hour so we are now going to count our labour as a savings too.
    - DH mowed the lawns and whipper snipped the edges in both the house paddock and back paddock as well saving another $50.92 in hiring a gardener to do it for us.
    - Weeded 2 x 9 x 2mt vegetable gardens before adding manure.

    Electrical work savings-
    - A friend who is an electrician came out and adjusted our hot water system to a higher temperature so we only have to turn on the electric hot water system on for 2 nights a week to heat. As we swap and give a lot of our free garden produce with them they did this free of charge saving us $70 on hiring another electrician to do it.

    Water preservation -
    - Did the usual and put dish rinsing water on the vegetable gardens, used saved grey water from our showers and washing machine to water the house & paddock lawns and used rain water to supplement water newly sprouted seeds and potted fruit trees on the back veranda to save on town water use.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone :).


    1. You had a great week! Those chickens must be huge! A nearby grocery has roasters on sale tomorrow only for .69 a pound limit two and I think I will go get those two for my freezer. The cheesecakes sound so yummy. That is great that you can barter your garden produce for work there.

    2. Thanks Lana for the encouragement :), the family roast chickens were around 2.4kg or 5.29lb, 2.1kg or 4.62lb and the 3rd was 2.2kg or 4.85lb in size. We like to buy the largest ones we can get so we get more meat off them.

      We are fortunate that we have a lot of friends who are tradesmen and most don't grow vegetables as we do so we can quite often barter our vegetables and fresh herbs for most things that need to be done here.

      Still enjoying our large cheesecake tonight for the 3rd night for dessert. We don't eat them often which makes them all the more special to eat when we do :) .


    3. Sewingcreations you always do so well, but you did spectacular!!! It is wonderful that you can share your produce and barter it too that's the way to save!!! I love seeing each week how you save so keep going. Xoxo Vicky

    4. Thanks Vicky I appreciate your encouragement :).

      Bartering is alive and well and a good way to get products you otherwise would not produce in your own home, or skills that you do not possess, and save money as well.

      We know also know how to adjust the temperature on our hot water system ourselves too now we have been shown by a professional tradesperson.


  5. I'm in love with Sully! He's so cute :-) Stay close to Chloe, Sully. Ooo, Hilde's grandmother's recipes and writing -- looking forward to seeing them. I love the glass bottles she saved for you. "Smoko", interesting! I love learning new Aussie sayings :). Mmmm, homemade pesto. Reminds me, I've gotta plant a small Basil plant Mike bought. So glad your weather is enjoyable now. We are getting some rain this weekend; the folks in the fire zones are having to watch out for mudslides. God bless 'em.

    1. Dear Mary, We will meet Sully next weekend! :)
      Yes you will be able to speak fully Australian pretty soon the way we are going! haha there are some funny words.
      I have heard of mudslides after areas being stripped by fire and I heard about it in California. that made news here quite recently.
      My pesto is so nice! We are having steak tonight so some pesto will be added. Also I will make the chicken dish next week. I might freeze some if I dont think we will get through it all.
      Have a lovely weekend! With much love,

  6. Annabel I am exhausted reading about all you have achieved this week. Well done. Those bottles your friend gave you are beautiful. I am pleased Anthrax was happy to be converted to a gluten free starter :-) Gertrude has a rebel in the family. LOL! I am pleased though that going gluten free has improved your health. Have a great weekend.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel, Yes Anthrax has done very well and is adaptable. And spread over so many places now!
      Truly I know many ladies that have been helped by this sour dough. Especially some with bigger families to feed. It really is wonderful.
      Many thanks to you that is! With love

  7. You have had a very busy and exhausting week. All those meals and cakes in the freezer will make life so much easier in busy times. Thankfully the nights have started cooling down. The days are still warm to hot but the nights are lovely and cool. The last week we have had passing showers. The showers are not enough to water the garden but they are keeping the lawns green and growing. My winter garden seeds, the third try, have come up and are looking so healthy and happy. The seeds planted 6 weeks ago are now looking wonderful with Bak Choy and silverbeet being harvested.
    I have made some cup cake pot holders. Cookie sent me the pattern when we had a swap last year. I have finished off a set of crochet cotton washcloths. These are going in the gift cupboard and will become a gift for later in the year.
    Bluey is working on a Lazy Susan for the dining table. It is looking beautiful. When he gets it finished I will send you a photo.
    Yesterday I smashed a full bottle of pure Eucalyptus oil at one end of the house and Bluey smashed a jar of Tiget Balm at the other end. Lets just say there are no blocked sinus in this house.
    Life is good.

    1. Haha! No germs, either ;)

    2. Dear Jane,
      I am going to have an easy week next week as so much is done ahead. I like getting ahead and trying to keep ahead but then we need it and have to start again! You know the feeling...
      I am glad your garden is going so well! We are in desperate need of rain. It just makes all the difference.
      The pot holders and wash cloths sound lovely. I am amazed but what you get done! Seriously!
      A lazy susan for the table will be great. Bluey is so clever with what he can make.
      It is a weird coincide you both should smash things that smell so strong! You will have clear breathing for a year I reckon.
      I hope you have a good weekend. Already Is aw you have been busy though! With much love

  8. Had a good week. There was some great specials to stock up on at the grocers. Made orange cup cakes and a large vanilla cake to keep us going a few days. Saved the left over chicken bones after a roast this week and will be making stock up soon. Were expecting some rain overnight so ive put buckets in the areas with steady drip to collect. Life is good at the moment.

    1. Dear Leanne, I put buckets under the drippy areas in the shed too! I can collect a lot of water in those buckets!
      the orange cakes and the vanilla cake sound beautiful. Also stock... it is wonderful to make tock/bone broth. There is so much goodness and I toss in some of my bay leaves and parsley and whatever needs using up. A great asset. I am glad life is good! Have a great weekend! With love

  9. Wow, Annabel! You certainly had a busy, productive week! I am looking forward to your upcoming posts with your GF starter and Hilde's grandmother's recipes.

    Sully is so adorable!

    All your baked goods look divine!

    Have a glorious weekend :)

    1. Dear Jenn,
      Thank you! You will love the old cook book. It is a gem and so personal. The GF sour dough is easier than I thought. Versatile too once you get going. I hope this will be a help to lots of families as GF everything is costly.
      Have a beautiful weekend there! With love,

  10. Sully is so sweet. You have done an amazing amount of baking! Looking forward to your gluten free sourdough bread recipe. I have not seen gluten free flour at our Aldi's but will look. What pretty bottles you were given. Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy, Our Aldi goods may be different but there is a whole GF section and the flour is there. But ask at your store. Our regular supermarkets also all carry their own versions. So it is available pretty cheaply. They all seem to be a blend of several things i.e. rice flour...
      Anyway it works! Its fabulous!
      I love bottles. So does Andy. He does home brew and I make so many things and am always looking for nice bottles!
      Have a lovely weekend! With love

  11. Sully is so cute. You did a great job this week. Luke is a lucky guy having all of you baking for him.
    In the summer I make pesto with walnuts because pine nuts are a fortune around here. I make it with grilled chicken and it is so good. The bottles are very pretty. I never thought about putting bubble bath in them. Great idea. I started a blog and hope you can stop by for a visit. My frugal list is there:

    1. Dear Making Cents of it all, I used almonds for the exact same reason! Pine nuts are well, nuts! The price is too high. This worked so well and I have done it before. Much better.
      Well done on starting your blog! I find blogging keeps me motivated, on track (haha most of the time) and accountable. It does me good. So I am sure you will find the same. Congratulations on your wedding anniversary! It was lovely to have a weekend away!
      Many thanks for sharing this! Love

  12. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    Annabel, I love your week, and the baking looks so delicious. Sully is one adorable pup!

    Cooking and food: I roasted a large turkey breast on Sunday and made sides - that has been dinner this week with some for the freezer, too. All work lunches and snacks were brought from home. ($150 savings on lunches, I would say $40 on healthy snacks.)

    Household: Lots of cleaning and laundry! The weather has warmed up in the afternoons, so I have been throwing windows open to get fresh air indoors. I missed some lettuce seeds last year when I collected seeds; they self-seeded and I have tiny volunteer lettuce plants in interesting places in the garden. This weekend I will dig them up and transplant them. The hyssop and mint are coming back nicely and the butterfly bush and berry bushes are greening.

    Entertainment: We enjoyed some books and movies from the library and our own collection. Birdwatching is also an activity that we enjoy (and the cats, from the safety of our living room bay window), and it is free. This week we saw several ground doves, herons, finches, one very curious magpie, a small hawk, and are trying to puzzle out the identity of several tiny birds that seem to have taken up house in my large yellow rose bush.

    Personal care and education: It is spring cold season here. My husband had it first, so we were glad to have cough lozenges, medicine, soup, juice, ice pops, and crackers in the pantry and freezer. I'm feeling a little sniffly today, but happy to have everything on hand and if I do get sick, I can just sleep in and take it easy this weekend. We also stocked up on personal care items like toothpaste and deodorant, since we found good prices on those.

    Knitting progress was made on a sweater and two shawls. Another week or two and I might have some finished objects!

    I hope everyone has a great weekend!

    1. Dear Kathy,
      I love turkey I could just about live on it!
      Last year there were really bad bugs plus flu in Spring, well into spring actually. So I am sorry it has hit your husband. I hope you havent got it!
      I know the lovely feeling of being able to open up the house and let the fresh air in. I am a fresh air freak! I love this and the first decent day everything is open. To me fresh air is better than anything else.
      It sounds like soon your garden will be taking off. Also it is lovely to see the birds out and about.
      At the farm after thirty or more years there are new little birds that have moved in! We were taken by them as they were completely new! They are a tiny finch I need to identify them. The bird I love most there is the Superb Blue Wren and there are so many! They are like little Sapphires.
      I hope you have a great weekend. We both had good weeks and deserve some rest! With love

  13. Dear Annabel,
    I was happy to see that you've had another great week! I was especially pleased to hear that you were able to make gluten -free breads with your sourdough starter. Thank you for the source of pesto recipes. The basil seeds I planted a few years ago have kept re-seeding, so I almost always have basil available. We are in the process of re-doing one of our spare bedrooms. My husband plans to remove the popcorn ceiling. (I don't know if you have such things in Australia, but they were very common here a few years ago. Now, they are something that people pay lots of money to be rid of.) We want to paint, put in new flooring and do some other things. It's a fair amount of work, but we are glad to be getting started.
    Wishing you and the other Bluebirds a lovely weekend with love from Arizona,

    1. Dear Elaine,
      I hope you found Mimi's pesto ok... if you type A Tray of Bliss Pesto it will come up. It is easy and so nice. And so useful. And it freezes!
      Yes I know what a popcorn celling is exactly. They were a thing here too. And now everyone rips it out. And I understand why haha! I think they did them for sound insulation? Anyway I know they are impossible to keep clean. So I am sure your husband will have an interesting time removing this!
      I hope you are having a good weekend too and have a great new week! With love,

  14. Dear Annabel
    You've had an incredibly productive week. All of your cooking looks so delicious.

    Our week has been a little crazy, starting off with the refrigerator dying it's final death on Sunday. Thankfully we have a second one in the garage so we've used that until today when the new one was delivered. We've gotten lots of exercise going up and down the stairs to get the food for meals.

    Tuesday and Wednesday it snowed. We got close to two feet of it. This seems to be the winter that doesn't want to end.

    As for feathering I cooked double for each dinner meal and put the second meal in the freezer. Baked grain free blueberry muffins and grain free chocolate donuts. I've been making little clutch bags out of a pair of my husband's old jeans and embroidering the with grub roses and baby's breath and adding them to the gift closet. I'll send pictures when they're done.
    Wishing everyone a good weekend. Blessings, Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie,
      Well the consolation with the fridge is how nice it is to have a new one! It is lovely having a new one to set up and organise. I hope you love it!
      Our summer didnt really want to end in the same way your winter is hanging on. However I think we are done now... yay!
      The blueberry muffins sound very good to me. I have been looking up a lot of friend recipes as these are mostly just almond flour. This week I am back on the grain free wagon. I seem to be able to get away with a bit but not much and no wheat. Thats just out. Sugar is still my downfall.
      I would love to see the denim bags with grub roses! I love grub roses on everything they are just gorgeous to me so I will look forward to this!
      I hope you are having a good weekend too. This week is shaping up to be busy also. Then its Easter! With much love

  15. Beautiful bottles and puppy! Who wouldn’t love that face?
    I drove far afield for a sale on cheese. I bought 12 pounds for the freezer. Canned tuna was also bought. I made up ten jars of raspberry jam from berries I froze last Fall. And, I got four small jars of rhubarb syrup, also frozen. I Have just a bit left of rhubarb, so I may add that and some frozen blackberries to make a nice dessert this weekend. A friend gave me about ten pounds of bananas, twice!, so I made six batches of chocolate chip banana muffins and froze the rest. My freezer is full! I’m thinking I may give the jam and syrup for gifts at Christmas this year. It’s been awhile since I gave jams so it’s time.

    1. Dear Debbie,
      Twelve founds of cheese! I love cheese so a good supply is a good thing to me!
      And you have bananas too! And so many! Well thank goodness there is plenty to do wth bananas. And freezable things too which helps. What a good week. the jam sounds lovely and yes I think good gifts. With love

  16. What a fun and productive week you had! You seemed to fit alot of work in with your socializing.

    I had a very blessed week! A friend cleaned out her freezer and blessed us with organ meats, large sacks of lamb bones to make broth, and fat for us to render. I already cooked up 10 quarts of broth. Wow!
    Then we were blessed with 23 skeins of yarn and dozens of craft books and booklets. A friend's elderly aunt was cleaning out her craft supplies. My daughter's and I are over the moon!
    We saved $115 USD on the yarn skeins alone.
    I've been still keeping up with egg production by canning lemon curd. My daughter is using up the whites in her baking.

    Blessings to all,

    1. Dear Leslie, It was wonderful to get the meat and lamb bones. I know you would put it all to great use. And the yarn! Well I love yarn! 23 skeins is so much! I would just love this! No wonder you are over the moon!
      Wow I also love lemon curd! Yum! It is so beautiful. In fact I just now have lemons from Hilde and could make some...
      That was a beautiful week full of good things! I hope the new week will be good too, with much love

  17. Annabel, Hildes blood is worth bottling as my Mum used to say. What a great friend, and always worth visiting by the sound of it! You had a great week, and I'm intrigued by the gluten free sourdough starter. I started one but husband threw it out not realising what it was, and I hadn't had the time to try again! Your baking looks divine. I had a good week with lots of sewing and tidying. These are both necessary as husband is building me a new sewing room, so a serious cull and finishing of half completed projects in necessary. I feel good about the tidy up though. I hate it when my creative space is crammed full of stuff and nowhere to be creative. Its always a feel good exercise visiting you on a Friday! Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, Yes! A practical and sensible friend is a huge asset. Hilde has stood the test of time too. Twenty one years ago my Dad had a heart attack and the girls were asleep in bed, Hilde came in the night and sat at my house and the girls never work up. I followed the ambulance to the hospital and we got Dad on the air ambulance and the slept through the lot. This is a good friend.
      I will post more on the sour dough and gf. I think it gives a good bread as it smells like bread, feels like bread...
      How exciting to have a sewing room being built! That will be just beautiful and how special. I cant wait to see this! With much love

  18. Dear Annabelle
    As usual you’ve had an amazingly productive week. Sully is looking less anxious, I do love puppies the whole size two skin and size 0 body is so cute, like all babies really.
    My husband and I have had a good giggle over the name of your sourdough starter, you’re one funny lady. Our new starter is Angel, I created her just over a week ago and she’s starting to bubble away quite happily and smelling delicious now. I killed my last little B.B. (bread baby) when I moved house last year and have only just decided to get back into making my own bread.
    You certainly have to look hard for a bargain these days and take advantage of opportunities as they arise, I’ve preserved a lot of blackberries this year and have my eye on some apples and quinces growing wild, I’m relying on these as I don’t yet have fruit growing in my new garden, however in the six months I’ve been here we’ve managed to grow zucchini, green beans cucumbers and tomatoes, we just have kale coming on line and there’s broccoli and cauliflower in, soon I’ll be harvesting beetroot. Makes me feel good to put something on the table that we’ve grown.
    With best wishes from the Macedon Ranges, Victoria.


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